When you suffer from depression or anxiety, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for both your body and mental health. In fact, diet and exercise, combined with other self-care methods, can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Feel overwhelmed just thinking of it? I understand. I have been there, too.
The psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help you manage stress and anxiety. So how exactly does exercise help depression and anxiety? How does a healthy diet affect depression and anxiety?
We all know that exercise is good for us, but how does it actually affect our bodies? Well, exercise has both physical and psychological effects on our body. Regular exercise can help you manage depression and anxiety by:
Regular exercise can also help you:
These are only a few of the benefits of exercising, as exercise has benefits that go far beyond weight loss.
Like exercise, a healthy diet is a major component of mental health. Your gut is your second brain! There are many foods that can help you adjust your gut microbiome and so lessen your depression and anxiety. Some of these foods include those rich in antioxidants like:
Selenium also helps regulate your mood. Foods that can help raise your selenium levels are:
Additionally, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are crucial when it comes to making sure your body and mind function properly.
When you think of exercise, you probably think of going to the gym. However, exercise doesn't always have to mean running laps. Simply walking for 10-30 minutes a day is enough for you to experience some of the benefits of exercising.
Did you know that we are offering live, interactive AIM 4 Brain Health online groups that include tips for good health, Exercise and Support as well as accountability?
You can start small, say by taking a 10-minute walk every day, and worm your way up from there. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving can help improve your mood.
You don't have to do all your exercise or other physical activity at once. Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, you can try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing some stretches every now and again.
All in all, both a healthy diet and exercise are beneficial to your mental health. Making small changes each day can help you manage your depression and anxiety.
If you feel fatigued and depressed a lot, I invite you to get my checklist and roadmap on how to reverse depression, emotional paint and chronic fatigue below!
Dr. Christine Sauer, MD,ND(Ger), INHC, CBHC is a German-trained conventional as well as naturopathic physician, a Certified Brain and Mental Health Expert and Coach and a Certified Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health Coach. Through her own journey from successful owner of a large practice in Germany through the abyss of mental and physical health to complete recovery she discovered her unique process to help her clients achieve lasting health and wellness. Her mission is to change the world for the better, one life at a time. Her hobbies are science, learning new things, cooking, gardening and her backyard chickens and dogs.
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